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Yaraa’ is a bamboo reed used as a flute by shepherds. Regarding the yaraa’ there is difference of opinion among the Shaafi Ulama. It should, however, be clearly understood that those among the Shaafis such as Imaam Ghazaali (rahmatullah alayh) who believe the yaraa’ to be permissible with certain restrictions, do not proclaim musical instruments lawful on the basis of the permissibility of the yaraa’. While the modernist deviate juhala proclaim all musical instruments permissible on the basis of Imaam Ghazaali’s stated permissibility of the yaraa’, the illustrious Imaam himself declares all musical instruments haraam, apart from certain exceptions, e.g. the yaraa’ and duff. Hence, he says in his Ihyaaul Uloom: “The Shaafi Ulama are unanimous in proclaiming the prohibition of such musical instruments which develop passion and ecstasy even without singing, as well as the instruments which professional singers generally use. Their use too is haraam.”

The deviates are at pains and grasp at straws from Imaam Ghazaali’s Ihyaaul Uloom to fabricate substantiation for their claim of the permissibility of all musical instruments. They abortively cite Imaam Ghazaali’s view which does not pertain to musical instruments in general. His view, which is not the most authentic view of the Shaafi Math-hab, is confined by himself to certain primitive instruments such as the yaraa’ and duff. He does not extend it to other musical instruments as the deviates do. Imaam Nawawi (rahmatullah alayh), the Shaafi authority, says: “The yaraa’ of the shepherd which is also called shabaabah is haraam. It is written in Al-Anwar that the yaraa’ is not haraam. And, one view is that it is haraam. Yaraa’ is also called shaaheen…. All kinds of flutes are haraam. Thus ‘naaee-ambaan (in Faarsi) is also haraam because it is a feature of the fussaaq. Similarly the as- sarnaaee is also haraam……” (Majmuatul Hafeed)

There is absolutely no grounds for citing the yaraa’ and the duff as a basis for legalizing musical instruments which are unanimously haraam without any difference. Even Imaam Ghazaali (rahmatullah alayh) accepts the hurmat of the mass of musical instruments which have been invented at the behest of shaitaan and which are used in profusion by the fussaaq, and kuffaar.


(1) Imaam Suhoon Bin Saeed (rahmatullah alayh) said:“I asked Shaikh Abdur Rahmaan Bin Qaasim Atqi (whose Ustaad was Imaam Maalik): “Did Imaam Maalik say that singing is Makrooh?’ He said: ‘In fact Imaam Maalik said that it is Makrooh to recite even the Qur’aan with ilhaan (singing tone). Why then will singing not be Makrooh by him?” (Al-Mudawwanatul Kubraa)

(2) “Even on marriage occasions Imaam Maalik regarded the duff to be Makrooh.” (Al-Mudawwanatul Kubraa)

(3) When Imaam Maalik was asked about the singing gatherings of Madinah, he responded that these were the gatherings of the fussaaq.

(4) Allaamah Muhammad Bin Muhammad Hattaab Maaliki writes: “It is stated in At-Taudheeh: ‘Singing even without instruments is Makrooh (forbidden). If the singing is with instruments such as the violin and tambourine, then it is forbidden. Similarly is it with the flute. It is obvious according to some Ulama that this (prohibition) is related to haraam. Although Muhammad had used the word Makrooh for the violin, he meant thereby haraam. Muhammad Ibnul Hakeem has explicitly said that listening to the violin nullifies one’s testimony. Verily, it (listening to the harp) is Makrooh in all circumstances. (Often the term Makrooh is used for haraam as we have explained earlier).” (Mawaahibul Jaleel

(5) Allaamah Ibn Rushd Maaliki writes in his Muqaddamaat: “It is not at all permissible to derive enjoyment from musical instruments. On Nikah occasions exemption has been granted for the duff. There are different views regarding the kabar and the mizhar.” (These are two types of drums).

(6) Shaikh Abu Ja’far Adfoi (rahmatullah alayh) states in his kitaab, Al-Iqnaa’ fi Ahkaamis Sama’: “According to a group (of the Ulama) the duff is permissible on marriage and Eid occasions, and when a missing person returns. This has been recorded also by Imaam Ghazaali in Al-Ihya, and by Al-Qurtubi Maaliki in Kashful Qinaa’. They have recorded such Ahaadith which demand prohibition. There are also Ahaadith of permissibility (of beating the duff on marriage occasions) and other occasions of happiness. Hence, these (happy) occasions are exempted from the general prohibition (of using the duff, etc.).” (Mawaahibul Jaleel)

(7) Allaamah Durdeer Maaliki states:“The reed flute and the drum known to us as nafeer are Makrooh when these are not used so much as to divert one into futility otherwise it is just as haraam as other musical instruments with strings…” (Ash-Sharhus Sagheer)

(8) According to the majority of Maaliki Fuqaha the use of the duff is permissible only on marriage occasions. It is not permissible on other occasions of happiness. Allamah Saawi writes in this regard: “With regard to occasions other than marriage such as circumcision and birth, the popular view is impermissibility of striking the duff. According to the obscure view it is permissible on every happy occasion.” (Haashiyah Ash-Sharhus Sagheer)

It is clear from this variety of rulings that according to the Maaliki Math-hab too, musical instruments are not permissible. The exceptions pertain to the duff and the reed flute which according to the majority Maaliki opinion are also haraam. No authority of the Maaliki Math-hab or of any Math-hab had at any time legalized any of the prohibited musical instruments on the basis of the restricted permissibility of the duff and zimaar (reed flute). They all have restricted the permissibility to these two instruments. Furthermore, the permissibility applies to only such of these instruments which are in their original primitive form, not to any version which produces music such as the tablah of the qawwaals of these times.

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